Pakistan on Wednesday announced a slew of measures to cut government expenses, aiming to save 200 billion Pakistan rupees ($766 million) annually. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said he has asked all cabinet ministers and advisers to forgo their salaries and perks, and to not stay at five-star hotels during foreign trips.
“All cabinet members and advisors have voluntarily decided that they will not draw salaries or any other benefits from the state treasury and also pay their utility bills,” he said.
The belt tightening comes as Islamabad - which is facing a balance of payment crisis - thrashes out a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to secure funds worth $1 billion which have been pending since late last year over policy issues.
Cabinet members and all government officers would stop the use of luxury cars and fly economy class, Sharif said. All federal ministries and government offices have been directed to reduce expenditure by 15 per cent.
Shahbaz Sharif said that the colonial period palatial official accommodation by district officers would be put to better use.
Pakistan, which is in dire need of funds as it battles a wrenching economic crisis, has received financial assistance from the IMF in the past and is presently in discussions with the organisation to resume its loan programme. Talks between the cash-strapped nation and the IMF are due to conclude this week, officials say.
Before the talks, the IMF had asked Pakistan to take a host of prior actions, which included withdrawal of subsidies, hiking energy tariffs, and raising extra revenues.
Here is the full list of austerity measures for Pakistan ministers and government officers: